Possible Duplicate:
Markdown handles inline bold text (within a word) incorrectly

See here:

If I want to write Hello but only bold the H I can try:


Well that is weird....
What I typed was **H**ello. That should have worked.

It does work when I use a UTF-8 Hack however:


Looks the same: **H**​ello but somehow it shows differently.

What I am using is called a ZERO WIDTH SPACE. The problem is, why do I have to go through so much trouble just to make one letter in a word bold?

This affects times where people have to make answers like over here. Where the OP is trying to emphasize certain beginning of words.

Can this be fixed? As shown it is as easy as a UTF-8 Hack in the markdown.

marked as duplicate by Yi Jiang, ChrisF, John, Robert Harvey Dec 23 '11 at 18:51

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • @YiJiang'sProble_ yes, but i am proposing a solution. – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 23 '11 at 15:12
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    As it is possible to escape the asterisk, who wants to write **He**llo could still do it by writing \*\*H\*\*ello. I don't see in which cases highlighting the first letter would be done when the user doesn't want that. – kiamlaluno Dec 23 '11 at 15:13
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    @kiamlaluno i dont want to write **H**ello – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 23 '11 at 15:14
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    I understood that; I am just saying that who wants to write **H**ello could still do it. My comment was also to say that I doubt we would have users asking why they get a bold H when they wanted to write **H**ello. – kiamlaluno Dec 23 '11 at 15:18
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    @kiamlaluno ha, that is true ^_^ – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 23 '11 at 15:18
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    As an aside, the "official" Markdown claims: "Emphasis can be used in the middle of a word: un*frigging*believable" – Arjan Dec 23 '11 at 15:23
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    Did you really just post two consecutive duplicate posts on the same topic? LEARN 2 <b>! – Shog9 Dec 23 '11 at 18:52
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    @Jeff -- how is that not a bug? – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 25 '11 at 13:56

The problem is, why do I have to go through so much trouble just to make one letter in a word bold?

Because the StrictBoldItalic setting is set to true in Stack Exchange's Markdown parser, an intentional deviation from the Markdown specification. This is very much , presumably stemming from concerns about the characters used to indicate bold and emphasis (particularly underscores) being misinterpreted in the post.

Note that this has since been improved to allow for the use of asterisks (but not underscores, for the reasons mentioned above) for intra-word emphasis, so your mentioned use case will now work in posts/edits going forward, as well as comments.

  • As stated on the other answer. Why does it allow for italics then? – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 23 '11 at 15:26
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    Odd, @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA. But I doubt it's allowing italics, but it's merely failing? Just *E*mphasis does not work either. – Arjan Dec 23 '11 at 15:30
  • Because you've included the pair of asterisks, you've created a non-word boundary that the regular expression considers valid for the purposes of strict italics. – Tim Stone Dec 23 '11 at 15:30
  • @Arjan see the OP. the *H* is italics – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 23 '11 at 15:31
  • @TimStone is that why the ZERO WIDTH SPACE works then? – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 23 '11 at 15:31
  • @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA Actually, the H is in italics, the non-word asterisks are outside of the italics (which is why it happens). – Tim Stone Dec 23 '11 at 15:32
  • @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA A zero-width space is a non-word character. – Tim Stone Dec 23 '11 at 15:32
  • @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA - because ZERO WIDTH SPACE is treated as a word boundary. It is a space after all. – ChrisF Dec 23 '11 at 15:33
  • @Scrooge I guess... but with zero-width lol – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 23 '11 at 15:33
  • I know, @aman, but I feel it's wrongly taking a single asterisk from the two you typed (rather than taking just one on purpose). When you just type one, the parser is ignoring it too. – Arjan Dec 23 '11 at 15:33
  • @Arjan Exactly. The problem of course is that the parser can't know your intentions, so when bold doesn't succeed it just blissfully moves on to try italics, which circumstantially work. – Tim Stone Dec 23 '11 at 15:38
  • @Arjan and the spin off: meta.stackexchange.com/q/116990/155556 ... – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 23 '11 at 15:39
  • @AMan​AboutAPlanInPanama, zero width space also work as a boundary in, for example, @mentions... ;-) (What, only now, while starting to type it backwards after the first @amanU+200B, I realized it's a palindrome!) – Arjan Dec 23 '11 at 15:45
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    @Arjan hehe why yes I am a palindrome ^_^ ‮ – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 23 '11 at 15:47

The characters used for formatting are also often used in their "normal" meaning, for example in "2*6 = 3*4" or "some_variable_name". You end up with a lot of unintended formatting if you don't restrict where those characters have special meaning.

If you want an easy way to format part of a word, you can use the according HTML tags, like <b>H</b>ello.

  • Then why would the text become italics. your theory makes no sense.... – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Dec 23 '11 at 15:25
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    @aman: That looks like a bug. – sth Dec 23 '11 at 15:33
  • Primo, such cases would be rare, and escaping would be there for them. – Nicolas Barbulesco Jan 3 '14 at 9:21
  • Secundo, <b>H</b>ello does not work in comments, neither <strong>B</strong>onjour, neither Good <i>b</i>ye, neither <em>T</em>schüß. Which is a shame. – Nicolas Barbulesco Jan 3 '14 at 9:28
  • Tertio, in answers the equivalent HTML for Hello is <strong>H</strong>Hello, not <b>H</b>ello. – Nicolas Barbulesco Jan 3 '14 at 9:30

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